I got a call over the weekend from a good friend, who has recently moved to New Hampshire and needed running shoe advice.
As an aside, this friend has near-impeccable taste in shoes but very different habits than mine. I visited her in Paris a few years ago (she was spending several months working there), and I was flabbergasted to find that she had THREE pairs of shoes with her: running shoes, Ferragamo Audrey flats, and heels. Three pairs of shoes. Not even one pair a month. I probably had more shoes with me for my several day trip.
|This is the two of us at Machu Picchu. |
Look closely and you'll see her Mizunos.
I, of course, defaulted to my usual: go and get fitted. Now, she has a small frame and is a normal pronator and would probably be okay with almost any shoe, but I held firm: go to a running store and get fitted.
And here's my point: I told her about my most recent experience buying shoes and how the woman at Jack Rabbit kept me there for nearly 45 minutes, telling me all about my feet (medium arches, "fan" shaped forefoot) while bringing me different shoes, and how she had me run on the treadmill while videotaping my footstrike and then played back the footage so I could see my pronation on the big screen to see how the shoe fit. I also told her how Jack Rabbit gives you two weeks of wearing the shoes to try them, during which you can return them if they don't work.
Well. My friend was surprised. Evidently she's never been fitted like that. Moreover, though, she was calling me from Sports Authority wanting to buy shoes just then. (She was willing to wait, but for what? There aren't any specialized stores around, so her chances of finding something on her own at Sports Authority were as good as her chances of finding something online.)
I guess this brings up - and what doesn't, these days? - questions about how important one's shoes are to running, anyway. If you follow the minimalist mentality, too much shoe is worse than too little. I'm on a backlash right now, having just upgraded to more shoe to stop my shin pain. But could she have just grabbed pretty much any shoe that felt good to her?
So, for her sake (living somewhere relatively rural without big-city technology), what suggestions do you have? What are your shoe fitting experiences? What's the weirdest shoe experience you've had? What's the most high tech experience (I suspect Jack Rabbit is up there)? And most importantly, how much do you rely on the sales associate versus your own gut - what should she have done at Sports Authority?